Jack and The Beanstalk

Date 24th November 2023
Society KYDS Youth Drama Society
Venue Tolleshunt Knights Village Hall
Type of Production Pantomime
Director Olly Smith
Musical Director Leah Harding-Payne
Written By Alex Jackson


Author: Christine Davidson

It is always with great pleasure when we visit KYDS Youth Drama Society.  The family and community support for this group is exceptional.  Over the last fourteen years that we have watched their shows, we have seen a great improvement in their achievements and facilities. Young actors who have grown up through the ranks still come back to help out with sound, lights and backstage.

Costumes this year, especially for the Dame were really super as were his wigs! With twenty nine young actors on stage this was going to be young Olly Smith’s debut as director.  Going to NODA Summer School this year on the Pantomime Course, this obviously helped him as the show did well. Maybe a little slow to start but as first night nerves faded the second half really buzzed and became worthy of a great night out.

Star of the show has to be Grace Bryson as Jack Trott.  This young lady simply shines on stage and has that special something.  With energy and pace her singing was strong and her acting superb. I do hope she goes on to Performing Arts as her stage presence and confidence makes her a star of the future.  Well done Grace.

As Dame Tilly Trott, Vinnie Weymouth was the archetypal Dame with super makeup, costumes and wigs. At the beginning I did find it hard to hear clearly what he was saying but as time went on he got into his own and by the end was extremely funny.  Picking on a poor man called Pete, he made this running gag his own, even saying goodbye to him at the very end.  The song ‘The twelve days of Christmas’ with Simon Trott and King Crumble was hilarious and the audience loved it as I think did the three of them on stage.

Henry Lawrence as Simon Trott was the cheerful son of the Dame and was super in the role. Clear speech and a good singing voice he seemed to have a ball on stage giving a very confident performance.

King Crumble (Ollie Wise) had a smaller role and probably the harder one as coming up against the exuberance of the Dame and Simon he was the quieter of the trio, but did well in the role and enjoying the pie flans in the face and the messy squirt guns. Jill Crumble (Emily Reynolds)  looking as pretty as a picture was the sweet love of Jack and her duet, ‘I only want to be with you’ with Jack was sung beautifully. 

Fairy Evergreen (Lilian McMichael) entered with a simple pretty costume and sparkly wand to give us the intro to the pantomime.  A lovely singing voice but when she narrated she was so quick at the beginning that I wanted her to breathe and slow down a little. Being first night I think that this was just nerves as she did slow down during the show and gave a good performance .

Her nemesis was Lord Fleshcreep with his sidekick Spinach.  Ewan Moore as Fleshcreep was superb in the role and his costume reminded me of the Child Catcher in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Great makeup again and his sidekick Alexis Reynolds helped make this duo a great one to boo and hiss. We have to also say well done to Pat the Cow or Cow Pat – yes you can guess the corny jokes as there were simply loads of them all the way through.  Rebecca Brady and Bella Foster must have been very hot in the costume but the children in the audience loved her.

The huge ensemble of young local talent were great and good to see more boys in the cast.  It was wonderful to see them all enjoy themselves and have a good time.  The audience loved them and they should all be so proud of their individual achievements. Well done to you all. It’s no wonder that KYDS now have a waiting list to join such is the standards that they achieve.

The set was painted as a village scene with the second half up in the clouds. A rising beanstalk added to the scene and a great use of props. With only an hour to get in at the hall, it is incredibly hard for the lighting and sound to get it right so sometimes the leads were in the dark on the thrust and each side of the stage. I know that by the matinee today this will be put right as they will have more time to set the lights.

The script was a really modern one with excellent choice of music. Musical Director Leah Harding-Payne must have worked hard with the group as they all sung really well and the smiles on their faces were fantastic.  This was a joy to watch and their finale song ‘I’m a Believer’ was an excellent choice. What a great way to bring on the Christmas Spirit.  My last review for you and may I say what a delight you have all been throughout the years.  I’m sure your new Rep Vicky Carey will love you as much as I do. Congratulations to all.